Gender Empowerment and Equity in Labor? Hardly -CWR

May 1, 2016

By CWR

Not true, asserts a 32-year research and education institution for women on the global projection of government that Filipino women gain equal labor rights and enjoy economic empowerment. The Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) study shows that the contractualization scheme hurts women workers most since majority of them are hired as contractuals.

“The so-called economic opportunity given by the government consists of temporary and low-skilled jobs for women. They receive a per-day below minimum wage. So on the contrary, such condition spells insecurity therefore disempowering to women,” says CWR executive director, Jojo Guan.

Based on the record from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES), CWR has discovered that the number of seasonal or temporary workers and daily/weekly workers has increased faster than the number of hired permanent workers. Since 2010, the number of those employed in permanent jobs have gained 4.43% only while the seasonal or temporary workers have posted a 16.35% increase and those employed on a daily or weekly basis have increased by 72.87%. Meaning, the offered jobs lack security and just offer temporary employment.

Notorious implementors of contractual work belong to large companies with businesses in wholesale and retail, manufacturing, and services where 75% to 85% of the workers are women.

Companies in the business process outsourcing (BPO) or call center industry, dubbed as the “sunshine” industry, likewise employ many on-contract workers. BPO continues to be a fast-rising industry with many foreign companies investing in the country’s cheap English-speaking workforce. More than half (54.9%) or 116, 866 of the total BPO workforce (212,990) are women.

Among the 1.74 million women employed in establishments with 20 or more workers, only 117, 965 or 6.8% are union members. “As the contractualization scheme goes well with the companies’ policies, the number of regular women workers decreases, thereby resulting to lesser members in the labour unions. Such a small number of union members are advantageous to companies because there would be fewer voices during collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and much fewer voices of women members who would assert their rights for benefits and just wages,” explains Guan.

Guan says that real empowerment for women can only be felt with regular jobs and decent wages. She advises the Aquino government to prove its genuine social contract for the last time by scrapping the contractualization scheme of the companies.

“Scrap the scheme. In the remaining two months of his power, Mr. Aquino still need to show a meaningful legacy to the Filipino workers by eradicating the oppressive practices of companies like contractualization. Bumawi man lang siya sa huling sandali,” challenges Guan. ###

For reference, contact: Cham Perez, 4112796 or 09156531122